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Texans fire David Culley, leaving Steelers’ Mike Tomlin as NFL’s only black head coach

The racial disparity between NFL players and coaches grew wider on Thursday as the Houston Texans fired David Culley after just one season, leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin as the only African-American head coach in a mostly black league.

‘One Black head coach left in the NFL,’ tweeted USA Today’s Mike Freeman. ‘Absolutely disgraceful.’

Culley’s widely reported dismissal follows the Miami Dolphins’ decision to fire their black head coach, Brian Flores, after the team went a respectable 19-14 over the last two seasons.

A Texans spokesperson did not immediately confirm DailyMail.com’s request for confirmation. 

African Americans accounted for 57.5 percent of league players in 2020, according to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. Meanwhile white players comprised 24.9 percent of NFL rosters in 2020, when the league still had four black head coaches. 

The NFL tied a record in 2018 with eight African-American head coaches, all but seven of whom have been dismissed. 

The Houston Texans fired David Culley after just one season on Thursday, leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin as the NFL's only black head coach. Culley's Texans were among the NFL's worst teams this season, but their 4-13 record may have actually exceeded expectations. Houston's roster had been depleted by age and injury in recent years, not to mention the departures franchise cornerstones JJ Watt and DeAndre Hopkins, who each landed with the Arizona Cardinals over the last two seasons

The Houston Texans fired David Culley after just one season on Thursday, leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin as the NFL’s only black head coach. Culley’s Texans were among the NFL’s worst teams this season, but their 4-13 record may have actually exceeded expectations. Houston’s roster had been depleted by age and injury in recent years, not to mention the departures franchise cornerstones JJ Watt and DeAndre Hopkins, who each landed with the Arizona Cardinals over the last two seasons

Culley's widely reported dismissal follows the Miami Dolphins' decision to fire their black head coach, Brian Flores, after the team went a respectable 19-14 over the last two seasons

Mike Tomlin, who guided Pittsburgh to a Super Bowl victory following the 2008 season, is among the NFL's longest-tenured coaches and is preparing for his 10th postseason appearance with the Steelers

Culley’s widely reported dismissal follows the Miami Dolphins’ decision to fire their black head coach, Brian Flores (left), after the team went a respectable 19-14 over the last two seasons. Mike Tomlin (right), who guided Pittsburgh to a Super Bowl victory following the 2008 season, is among the NFL’s longest-tenured coaches and is preparing for his 10th postseason appearance with the Steelers

Roughly two thirds of players are African American, but the NFL has just one black head coach

Roughly two thirds of players are African American, but the NFL has just one black head coach

Tomlin, who guided Pittsburgh to a Super Bowl victory following the 2008 season, is among the NFL’s longest-tenured coaches and is preparing for his 10th postseason appearance with the Steelers.

‘And that’s why his track record/stability/leadership is even MORE impressive, given how the NFL operates,’ tweeted ESPN’s Kimberly Martin.

The NFL now has eight head-coaching vacancies heading into the 2022 season.

Culley’s Texans were among the NFL’s worst teams this season, but their 4-13 record may have actually exceeded expectations. Houston’s roster had been depleted by age and injury in recent years, not to mention the departures franchise cornerstones JJ Watt and DeAndre Hopkins, who each landed with the Arizona Cardinals over the last two seasons.

Further complicating matters for Culley, 66, was the status of Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson, who reportedly demanded a trade out of Houston following the 2020 season and was then sued by 22 women for sexual misconduct, including accusations of sexual assault.

Watson, who has denied the allegations, was subsequently demoted to a backup role, leaving the Texans without a reliable quarterback in 2021.

Further complicating matters for Culley, 66, was the status of Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson (pictured), who reportedly demanded a trade out of Houston following the 2020 season and was then sued by 22 women for sexual misconduct, including accusations of sexual assault. Watson, who has denied the allegations, was subsequently demoted to a backup role, leaving the Texans without a reliable quarterback in 2021

Further complicating matters for Culley, 66, was the status of Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson (pictured), who reportedly demanded a trade out of Houston following the 2020 season and was then sued by 22 women for sexual misconduct, including accusations of sexual assault. Watson, who has denied the allegations, was subsequently demoted to a backup role, leaving the Texans without a reliable quarterback in 2021 

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, who broke the story, explained that Culley 'didn't stand a chance with the Texans,' given the team's roster concerns

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, who broke the story, explained that Culley ‘didn’t stand a chance with the Texans,’ given the team’s roster concerns

‘This really, really annoys me,’ tweeted sports writer and podcaster Chris Rosvoglou. ‘Won 4 games and stayed competitive throughout the year with a roster lacking so much talent.

‘Set Culley up for failure, he overachieved, and it still didn’t matter. Just BS.’

‘We knew black coaches had a shorter leash but got damn one season is all the Texans gave Culley,’ tweeted former NFL wide receiver Rob Carpenter.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, who broke the story, explained that Culley ‘didn’t stand a chance with the Texans,’ given the team’s roster concerns.

‘He had a mix of holdovers from the previous regime and a bunch of one-year free agent signings,’ Garafolo tweeted. ‘Plus no franchise QB. He made his mistakes but I’m not sure how many coaches would’ve won more games.’

Former NFL wide receiver Rob Carpenter said Culley faced too much blame for the Texans

Former NFL wide receiver Rob Carpenter said Culley faced too much blame for the Texans

Many media members took aim at NFL hiring practices following reports of Culley’s dismissal.

‘David Culley is another Black coach never given a chance hired to clean up a mess,’ tweeted Deadspin’s Chuck Modi. ‘As of today there are as many NFL Black head coaches (Mike Tomlin) as 1989 when Art Shell broke The Color-line for NFL Head Coaches. It’s time for a class action lawsuit.’

‘With David Culley’s firing in Houston, there is now one African American coach in the NFL – Mike Tomlin,’ tweeted Newsday’s Bob Glauber. ‘If you don’t think that is a problem in a league made up of approximately 70% Black players, then you are not paying attention.’

Prior to becoming Texans head coach in 2021, Culley served as an NFL assistant coach in Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Buffalo, and Baltimore.



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